If there is one thing that a contemporary job seeker extraordinaire has to master, it's the ability to network and form all sorts of business connections on which they can depend. That being said, there is more to networking than simply schmoozing and passing around your modern resume, and you may find that charm only gets you so far with prospective employers.
The first consideration you should have when trying to hone in and refine all the skills need to successfully tackle these dealings is your definition of networking. While there are some obvious opportunities for you to work your magic, such as industry conventions and corporate lunches, there other venues that could serve as the perfect backdrop for forming bonds with people who are high up on the totem pole of your field.
Look to your loved ones for help
The Boston Globe pointed out that perhaps the most effective place to start to connect with other professionals is among the crowds that you already frequent. You may not know it now, but the people you share some sort of tie with, like friends and family, may actually hold the key to your job search success.
Because you normally don't view your loved ones in a professional light, you could have spent years and years overlooking the fact that they could somehow help you break into a certain line of work or make your way into a company where they could have contacts. However, if you sit down and actively brainstorm which people with whom you are already familiar, you could discover that you have some solid foundation upon which you can build your network.
"Make a list of people who have helped you in the past or who you know will help you – past bosses, colleagues, friends, relatives," recommended Diane Darling, founder of Effective Networking Inc., according to The Boston Globe. "You build your network from there. You branch out."
Initiate intimate gatherings
After coming up with a concrete conception of networking prospects within your inner circle, you should arrange to meet up with all the viable people that you listed. By inviting these individuals for coffee or lunch, depending on how well you know the person, you can open the floodgates in terms of creating bonds and having these connections in your corner.
Over the course of your face-to-face meeting, you should refrain from directly inquiring about current career openings. Granted, if there are any positions available, you would like to know. But, by having a discussion about careers in general, open positions may come up more organically. If you direct the conversation toward learning about what they do for work and asking for advice about your own employment situation, you could foster stronger ties while allowing them to see you from a more professionally oriented perspective.
"If you show a genuine interest in other people, they'll show an interest in you," explained Jayne Mattson, senior vice president of Keystone Associates. "So listen to them. When a job finally opens up, they'll think of you. That's the goal: Make them remember you."
Following this preliminary endeavor, you are ready to take it to the next level with actual networking events. At industry conventions or other professional occasions, you could encounter a slew of new people, ranging from company recruiters to creative job agency representatives. The key to guaranteeing effective networking efforts is to follow up with all the individuals you meet after the gathering. Instead of squirreling away the multitude of business cards that you received for a rainy day, you should be sure to touch base with everyone to continue nourishing those contacts that you made.